Archives for September 2009

Panorama, Osama Bin Laden and warnings of 9/11

I was in the Panorama office at the BBC on 9/11 when news began filtering through of a plane that had apparently flown into one of the Twin Towers in New York City.

I went straight into my bosses office and said 'I bet that Osama Bin Laden is behind this'.

Since 1998 when I first made a film for Panorama about al-Qaeda's attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania I had expected them to try and pull off a spectacular attack - very probably one on the US mainland.

In that 1998 film Death to America we had detailed al-Qaeda's links to an earlier attempt to blow up the World Trade Centre in 1993 and I had found hints of a plot in the Philippines involving light aircraft and a pilot bent on a suicide mission.

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I never dreamed on 9/11 as we worked through the night to prepare a programme on that day's terrible events that I would go on to make half a dozen major investigations for Panorama on al-Qaeda - the Bali and Madrid bombings as well as the abortive hunt for Bin Laden just some of them.

I was to visit Afghanistan and Iraq many times as the repercussions of 9/11 spread across the globe with disastrous consequences for many hundreds of thousands of people.

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